A Paris Model
A planned life that is totally orchestrated and coordinated by a parent does not always yield the best results. Forced into marrying someone because he is of the proper social status and wealth, Grace Woods learns from the start that not everyone or everything is what it appears to be. Loving working on the sheep station with her dad, Alfred she adores the fun of the outdoors, riding horses and her life. Reuben Wood is her favorite person to connect with and they have a special bond that will never be broken. But Grace wants more out of life and is hoping to attend a private college expanding her horizons. Her mother has other ideas for her but a tragedy stops her in her path as she is working with her father and a sheep needs help and the stress of pulling the animal to safety caused him to have a heart attack and die. Her mother seems adjusted and could care less showing no emotions at all. Grace is heart sick and even Siddy, Reuben is joining as well as her boyfriend Jake.
Forced to promise to wait for him until the war is over, Grace faces many changes in her life and then when the war department claims that Siddy might be gone she truly becomes depressed and upset. Her mother Olive loves to read fashion magazines which bonds them together for a while and teaching her the are of cooking she feels will make her a better wife for Jake. Waiting until the war was over he returns, and they marry. Jake has changed and his moods are uncertain at times, the violent behavior, the belittling and more cause Grace to question her life with him. Her mother does not want to hear of any of this but when she receives a letter stating that Christion Dior is going to meet her and she is about to embark on a career as a mannequin model for his company, a letter and a startling revelation about her parentage changes it all. Just who is her real father? Why has this information been hidden from her? What about her marriage?
Grace does a 360 and challenges Jake and leaves Australia to become one of the models/mannequins for Dior. Imagine having a personal dresser, others that work for him helping you to get started and wearing the most beautiful clothes in the world. Grace is also wondering if she will be able to find Siddy/Reuben and meet her real father. Searching for him required help as the Ferdinand a friend gave her some contacts but at last to no avail. How was she going to go beyond the official offices to find him when it is possible he might want to stay hidden.
The dress she was going to model at the next event was going to go to someone quite high up but who exactly would wear if after she modeled it? Grace is caught up in the night life and is drawn in by her two friends that are guiding her destiny you might say. Not interested in meeting someone she falls prey to the wiles of Phillippe Boyer almost instantly and then things take on a different turn but first she has to take care of divorcing Jake, deciding where she wants to be and hopefully finding Reuben.
Their liaison and courtship are unique as she learns about his affiliation with the communist party and his political views. He seems to think that she is just another pretty face until he gets to know the real Grace. Hidden beneath his handsome veneer is another person entirely and when he reveals the truth about who he is and what he really does, Grace has a decision to make that will endanger her life if she chooses to remain with him. Leaving out that she is still married and learning that Phillipe tried to find Reuben claiming that either he is dead or wants to remain hidden helps Grace to realize that fairytale dreams and having a real father might not be in the stars for her.
Working as model brings her in contact with so many people but it was exciting that she befriends Jacqueline Bouvier and Julia Child. That had to be exhilarating and
With the life of Ambassador Bruce in her hands Grace must seduce him, get the information needed to know where the assassin is going to hit and get close to Orly who is deadly. Life has taken her on many hard paths and before signing her divorce papers she impulsively does something that could take it all away as Jake is crude and his actions leading to a difficult life changing situation. But, Bridgette her friend and Marie are there for her as well of others working for Dior but in the end where will Grace wind up, what will she finally decide is her life, what about Siddy/Reuben is her hiding in plain sight as the author brings the memoir to a suspenseful ending.
Truths are finally revealed, and a father claims his daughter but the history behind Grace’s birth is not what you would expect it to be. Lives are changed and Grace has her own child but just who is the father Jack or Phillippe. Leaving to live in Charincourt, the home of her friend’s late father, Grace finally touches base with Reuben, and the author flashes back to 1922 and the truth behind her birth.
Learning the secrets that were hidden and then having her own child will she finally find some peace and happiness in her life? More secrets are revealed any Reuben had to hide from her, but will she understand but first she had to forgive herself and then decide whether she will allow Olive back in her life.
An ending that will be a new beginning for some and for others the end of the road as Grace has to decide where life will take her next as she chooses between her family, her mother and being a Paris Model.
The history behind the war, what the men who fought went through and the research the author did into the life of Dior, the fashion world kept this novel moving forward as did the fact it was told using a timeline allowing readers to get to know Grace as a child. Strong, impetus, impulsive and at times not realizing the consequences of her own choices, Grace takes us on a journey that many will find exhilarating, exciting, and yet sad at times when one young and beautiful Grace takes a chance in life and becomes a popular a sort after Paris Model. Author Alexandra Joel’s debut novel will leave readers wanting more of Grace and wondering what is next in her life.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
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